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Marijuana legalization brings warnings about impaired driving

According to safety officials from several U.S. transportation agencies, regulators should do more to mitigate the dangers of more permissive drug use in many states throughout the country. While marijuana remains illegal in Texas, officials fear that greater use of pot in places like California and Colorado will increase incidents of impaired driving. The National Transportation Safety Board is advocating that police use devices to test drug impairment.

These NTSB recommendations were sparked by an investigation of a crash in rural Texas that killed 13. The fatal accident was caused by a pickup truck driver who was intoxicated with marijuana and some prescription drugs. Video evidence clearly showed that the driver was swerving onto the shoulder and over the center divider for 15 minutes before the crash. Agents believe there was likely ample opportunity to pull over this truck before the accident happened.

In 2015, 46 percent of drivers who died in car accidents tested positive for drugs. Only 30 percent tested positive in 2006. While a lot of data shows an increased use of drugs while driving, there is yet to be a uniform national study of the issues. Safety officials blame increased use of opiates, marijuana and alcohol.

When a driver is accused of a DWI, they have the right to a lawyer during every phase of the legal process. Evidence is very important in these types of cases, and it's the responsibility of an attorney to make sure any relevant evidence is obtained legally. Depending on the jurisdiction, prosecutors may seek punishments ranging anywhere from fines and suspended licenses to prison time.

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